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Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway Initiative Launches Social Media-Based Photo Contest: #LoveMyGreenway

September 27, 2017

Maryville, Tenn. – Supporters of a 14-mile greenway connection from Maryville to Townsend announced today a social media photo contest, which will launch community engagement in support of local greenways.

From September 27 until November 10, weekly prompts will be given on Greenway to the Smokies’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Community members can submit photos through the official contest page, showing how they or their friends and family together enjoy the current Blount Greenway system, using the hashtag, #LoveMyGreenway. Prompts will include requests for photos featuring participants’ favorite greenway running or walking routes, children in Halloween costumes on the greenways in October, greenway users’ favorite views along the trails and more.

Each week, photo submissions from the previous week will be chosen to receive prizes, such as gift cards from area organizations like Cycology Bicycles and Little River Outfitters or tickets to the Grains and Grits Festival in November. One of these winners will be chosen by a random drawing and the other will be chosen based on community votes received on the official contest page. Participants can encourage friends and family members to visit the official contest page and vote for their photo submission.

“The goal of this contest is really to grow community excitement around our greenway system in Blount County,” said Kim Mitchell of the Blount Partnership, member of the Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway expansion council. “Greenways do so much for our community and local economy, and as we work towards this expansion, we want to remind citizens of Blount County what the new 14 miles of greenway will bring.”

Contest winners will have their photos shared by the Greenway to the Smokies’ social media outlets as well as be notified via email.

The official contest page is located at lovemygreenway.com. Greenway to the Smokies can be found on Facebook as “Greenway to the Smokies” and on Twitter and Instagram as @smokiesgreenway.


Consortium Spotlights Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway Expansion Plan; Phases and Benefits Detailed at Blount Tourism Day

May 11, 2017

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – A consortium of local and regional government and non-profit agencies working together to advance the Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway Expansion in Blount County, Tenn., gathered at the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority’s annual Tourism Day on May 11 to spotlight economic as well as health and quality-of-life benefits of the project – set to unfold in two phases in the coming years.

The proposed Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway will provide 14 miles of trail connecting Maryville to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – part of a larger regional effort to link pedestrians and cyclists from Knoxville to the Smokies through a greenway trail.

Carol Evans, executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation – which is the coordinating organization helping lead the effort to gather community engagement, refine the Greenway route and create a funding strategy – joined Ellen Zavisca of the Knoxville Regional Transportation Organization at Tourism Day to outline key aspects of the project.

Also included in the consortium are Alcoa City Government, Appalachian Regional Commission, Blount County Government, the Blount Partnership, Great Smoky Mountains Regional Greenway Council, Maryville City Government, the City of Townsend and Maryville / Alcoa / Blount County Parks & Rec.

Evans and Zavisca emphasized the positive Greenway impacts expected not only for Blount County’s tourism economic base but also for regional health and citizen quality of life.

According to Evans, the group conducted an extensive study in recent years to examine multiple options for developing the trail, as well as a fiscal analysis and economic impact overview.

“We are looking at a fairly diverse funding strategy, inclusive of foundation grants and private dollars,” Evans said.

The current strategy includes dividing the trail building project into two phases, with Phase One connecting Maryville to Heritage High School at an estimated construction cost of $3 million. Later, Phase Two – a significantly longer piece of trail – will connect Heritage High School to Townsend, at an estimated cost of $21 million.

For return-on-investment, the Greenway study pointed to a $65 million economic impact of the trail over a 10-year period, with every $1 spent on construction and maintenance producing a return on investment of $2.66. Property values near the trail will also see a positive boost, with statistics indicating that homeowners pay a $9,000 premium on houses located within 1,000 feet of bike paths.

Communities with greenway systems also reap economic gains with corporate and industrial recruitment – as out-of-market companies looking to relocate to Blount County tend to view greenways as a local quality-of-life and healthy-lifestyle benefit for their employee base.

From a Tourism Day perspective, the driver of the Greenway’s economic impact ties in with how much it elevates Blount County’s profile from a regional destination to a national destination.

A 2015 study by UT’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy entitled “Economic Potential of South Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness” outlined economic impact and growth projections for the 42 miles of trail inclusive of the 12.5 mile South Loop in Knox County. The study showed that annual expenditures tied to use of the trail – such as restaurant and lodging expenditures – can multiply by a factor of two to nearly three times if the trail evolves from simply being a “local amenity” for community use to a national destination for travelers.

Because the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is already a major national destination as the most-visited national park in the nation, expanding its appeal to include outlying areas in Blount County for hiking and biking purposes means a stronger tourism economic impact, including contributions to the local tax base from visitors.

About Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway: The Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway will include a paved trail within the right-of-way of Lamar Alexander Parkway / Highway 321 connecting the Maryville and Alcoa paved Greenway system – totaling 21 miles – and the existing nine-mile Townsend Greenway. The connection between Maryville and Townsend is a key element in the vision to link Knoxville to Townsend, a gateway to the Smoky Mountains.

This year is a ramp-up for funding to complete and implement the first phase of the trail. A mix of funding possibilities is being pursued, including foundations and private donations. Community outreach is a major component to raise awareness for potential funding. The community will see more about the full scope throughout the summer ahead. To view the full Maryville-to-Townsend Greenway Expansion Master Plan, visit knoxblounttrail.org.


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Thank you to these organizations spearheading the greenway initiative.